A man and a woman in Albania. Their two partners are both in custody but reforms in the penal system allow married couples to meet once a month for sexual contact. At first the film spins these two narrative threads alongside each other and then ties them together artfully. The two meet by chance in the prison and start a tender love affair that looks set to end when their partners are freed in an amnesty. Using breathtaking images without any superfluous flourishes, Amnistia depicts the life of its protagonists in today’s Albania, which is marked by unemployment, economic hardship and patriarchal structures. The recently sacked textile workers queuing to collect their pay offs, the run-down hospital kitchen, a newspaper press, a tyrannical father-in-law acting up as a guardian of moral standards, and repeated takes of roads and buildings. Alimani’s use of color, especially in the jail shots, recalls Edward Hopper’s realism and the loneliness of his figures. Thus, the director not only creates a panorama of Albanian society, but also tells a love story that has the stuff of tragedy.
by Bujar Alimani
with Luli Bitri, Karafil Shena, Todi Llupi
Albania / Greece / France 2011 83’

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m-appeal / Raspberry & Cream

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